Chicken Coops and Change

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These last few weeks have seemed to be speeding by. I am pretty sure it isn’t because we are getting older and moving slower.  (It might be, but I am not going to admit to that!) I think it is just the time of year; when time is growing short, to get outside things done.

We seem to be busy from morning light to the sun going down. We have been spending time by my brother-in-law cutting downed ash trees to be used to help heat our home this winter.

We have also been spending time harvesting soybeans, cleaning up the remaining things in the garden, working on our closet (when it rains…and yay…it is finished!), and just generally getting things ready for the winter season.

Yesterday, time was spent prepping the chicken coop for the winter season. The nesting boxes were cleaned out. We scooped up the old bedding from the floor and used my trusty wheelbarrow to transport it to the garden for fertilizer for the next summer crop. Actually my husband is the fertilizer transporter….he has wonderful technique in spreading it in a nice layer over the garden.

During the hot summer months my husband changes out a glass window for a screen window so the girls get a little breeze during those balmy days. Now that those days are gone, he switched the window back to the glass one. I couldn’t believe how much difference it made when I went to lock them in at night.

The coop cleaning is something that is done twice a year….spring and fall. I have come to expect this to happen sometime between  soybean harvest and corn harvest. I try to be prepared for that day when my husband comes in and announces that today is the day for coop cleaning.

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It is wonderful to go into the chicken coop those first days after it has been cleaned. Everything smells to pine or cedar shavings. The bedding on the floor is clean and dry and the nesting boxes look so inviting.

I don’t know if the girls really appreciate it or not….but I know that I do! I know they kick up a fuss while we are cleaning their home.  They come in and inspect…… often, voicing their opinions with loud clucking and fussing.

Watching them kick up a fuss I started to wonder if we kick up the same fuss when things get cleaned out in our lives? Do we wander about protesting loudly about the changes that are happening? Do we fuss and squawk about it, when in reality, our lives will be so much better when it is finished?

Are we reluctant to release the old way of life for a better one? Or do we firmly dig in our heels and make change more difficult than it needs to be? I know that I, for one, find change is sometimes hard. I like the familiar even if it is not the best for me. Like my girls…..I don’t like the unknown that change can hold.

One of my favorite songs about how hard change can be; is sung by Sara Groves……”Painting Pictures of Egypt.” When I hear that song I realize I am not so different from the Israelites in the wilderness.

Hopefully we learn to not fear the “cleaning” that our lives sometimes need. Hopefully we learn to accept those changes with grace and a curiosity about what life holds next. May we see the blessing in the changes. May we look forward to the future and be grateful for the past.

 

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” 
― Corrie ten Boom

 

 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

 

 

 

 

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: All Things Farm Related

IMG_3407 (2) Home for the Girls

The Chicken Coop ~Because I am the Chicken Grandma!

I thought I would try something different today…..a photo challenge with black and white photos.  To be honest I have no idea if I am doing this correctly or not. I really have no idea what I am doing…this isn’t the first time in my life I have felt this way and I am fairly sure it will not be the last!!

The topic: All Things Farm Related was perfect for me. I dug around in my old photos, looking for ones that I have not posted on the blog yet. I then tried my hand at changing them to black and whites. Hopefully I meet the criteria for the challenge! Some of them still seem to have a slight colored hue to them …… so who knows…..

The first picture is home to my girls…the chicken coop. It only seemed fitting to post that one as I am the Chicken Grandma to a lot of you and to my grand-kids…and you know I am a pushover for those grand-kids.

IMG_3701 The Old and New (2)

The Old and The New

Barns, for me, are the heart of a farmyard. I love seeing the old barn….but then, I love old wooden barns. I believe that there is something magical about those structures with their big haymows full of fragrant hay, grass and straw bales. Seeing it standing next to the new metal shed makes her seem like the matriarch of the farmyard.

IMG_3210 (2) Spring Fieldwork

Preparing the Soil

Spring field work is such an act of faith on our small farm.  My husband purchases those spendy bags of seed in the winter, prepares the ground, plants those seeds and then prays for rain. Sometimes the rains come in a timely manner and sometimes they don’t.

Sometimes living is plentiful and sometimes a little tight…but we have never gone to bed hungry and never had to walk out the door naked for lack of clothing…(and the world can be grateful for that!!) We are indeed blessed.

IMG_3691 (2) The Summer Kitchen

The Summer Kitchen/Gardening Shed

In the corner of my backyard is the old summer kitchen. It used to be in the middle of our farmyard and was kind of in the way so we relocated it. It has now been re-purposed as my garden shed. It is filled with clay flowerpots, gardening tools, chicken equipment and odds and ends.

It needs repair and I have lots of plans for this little shed. It will take my husband to do most of it so I am learning to be patient….I am not always so good at that! At this point in time, pigeons have been raising their young in it. I am quite sure they are very grateful that we are not too speedy.

IMG_0869 The Quiet of Winter Fields

Fields Sleeping Under a Blanket of Snow

I thought I would finish with a photo of our view towards the river in the wintertime.
Life slows down on the farm in the winter….If you don’t have lots of livestock to tend. It is a wonderful time to huddle next to the woodstove with a cup of hot chocolate in hand. It is also a wonderful time for dreaming of the coming planting season.

In it’s own way it is a season of hope. Hope for the coming Spring …hope for another good year…hope, just because hope is what farming is all about.

 

“There are only two reasons to farm:
because you have to, and because you love to.
The ones who choose to farm
choose for love.” 

― Wendell Berry

The land yields its harvest;
God, our God, blesses us. 

Psalms 67:6
NIV

 

 

Cee's Black & White Challenge Badge

 

 

Pre-Winter Preparations

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In the midst of an irksome election season, there is joy to be found in the regular seasonal tasks that need to be done on a farm….. at least on our farm.  The past days have been perfect for catching up and getting the pre-winter things done.

My husband and I have planted raspberry bushes (thanks to a friend who was getting rid of her bushes). We have cut and stacked more fire wood to use for the woodstove this winter. The   garage door installation has been finished! (Yay for us!!). And today was spent in putting away gravity flow wagons and harvest equipment and cleaning my chicken coop.

Putting away the equipment sounds like a small matter of just parking the wagons in the shed and good to go…….not so.  My husband has a very particular way he parks his equipment in the machine shed.  The space is limited so it is like putting a gigantic puzzle together, using a tractor to put the pieces in place.

Wagons are parked with only inches to spare between them. The planter is placed “just so”….that way the baler can fit in the space between the planter tongue and the gravity flows. I love jigsaw puzzles, but this is like a puzzle on steroids!

When we finally had the equipment parked to the proper specifications, it was time to move on to one of my seasonal tasks…….chicken coop cleaning!  It is an incredibly dusty job; but I love how the finished product looks and smells. The eggs look so nice nestled in the clean pine shavings that get put in the nesting boxes.

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To clean the coop one of the first things that we need to do is remove the chicken roost. My husband made an amazing roost for the girls a few years ago.  It is the perfect size and easy for us to remove for cleaning.

Once the roost is out, my job is to scoop the old bedding and chicken manure onto my wheelbarrow.  This is where the dusty part comes in. The old bedding is dry and the dust fluffs up everywhere as you scoop it up. My husband then spreads it on the garden as fertilizer.  This is a definite win-win for the girls and the garden.

The fun part is putting in the bags of new bedding.  Once it is all spread over the floor; the pine shavings look so fluffy and clean and smell even better.  It doesn’t even smell like chickens!

The girls are never very impressed when we do this cleaning job. I am never sure if they think we are throwing out something valuable or if they just do not like change. I can understand their fear of change.

Change can be hard. Sometimes it is easier to stay exactly where and how we are….even if it is like my girl’s dirty chicken coop. Even when life is less than perfect, there is a comfort in the old familiar places. They are places we know and are our “normal”.

If you are like me, you tend to drag your feet when God has something different planned for you. You know, that to make that change; it might involve a lot of heavy lifting, dust and scooping out of the old “stuff”. You also know that His is a much better plan than you can imagine and that in the long run you will be grateful for what He has done.

I am reminded of this fact when I clean the coop.  When I see how great it looks and smells when we are done; I am reminded that when God makes changes in my life….it is good and I am blessed.  I wonder why this is a lesson I seem to have to relearn over and over again….and then learn again…..

 

Don’t worry about anything; instead,
pray about everything.
Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.
Philippians 4:6-8 (NLT)

 

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